Hazel Krumm: Spotlight Interview

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Wonder what it’s like to be a WorkBC Centre employment counsellor? Read the Q&A below to learn about Hazel’s story, and read her best piece of advice.

How did you get your start?
Sometimes things just fall in your lap, and the rest they say is history! I had a remarkable opportunity 25 years ago to take a six-week Women’s Career Advancement training program through the government (I had been a stay-at-home mom with my girls). While I was taking the course, the owner of the school saw that I was always buzzing around helping the other students and asked if I would like to work for them.
 
My first gig was as a helper for a computer training and ESL [English as a Second Language] course, but my big break came when I started working as a job club facilitator. I trained under a dear colleague and friend, and ended up working there for about three years. I then started burning out on the group work, not sure if I could do it any longer. But as luck would have it, the same woman who had mentored me for the job club was now doing employment consulting and suggested I try that instead. As it turned out, the one-on-one work was a better fit for me. Now, 25 years later, here I still am!

What is it like to work at a WorkBC Centre?
Our workplace is quite remarkable, and our staff members are very welcoming. It’s a happy place to work and I’m very thankful for that.
 
I encourage [other coworkers] to be real with the clients, kind, welcoming and gracious. We are blessed to be working, and we have a unique opportunity to really make a difference in someone’s life.

What’s your favourite part of your job?
I get to chat with people! I meet with clients, spend time assessing what’s going on in their life, figure out how WorkBC, and the various programs and resources, can assist. I like helping people, whether that’s here at work or at home or in the community. For a funny story—my husband found a book called Hazel the Helpful Fairy and it’s pretty much my story (although she was a squirrel!).

How do you help others with career planning?
I like to use some of the traditional assessments, like interest inventories and personality tests. They can help give a client clarity on their career direction. I have a good understanding of what elements need to be considered in a career decision—from labour market information, to required training and skills needed. All in all, at the end of the conversation, it is the client who ultimately makes the decision about their career.

What are some common career questions you hear?
What kind of jobs will be stable? How can I pay for training? How can income assistance help me? These are all things I can assist the client with. A lot of the time, they just need someone who’s not in their inner circle to bounce ideas off of and get valuable feedback from. 

What has been an important moment in your own career journey?
When my previous boss advised me to apply for the employment counsellor position, I didn’t think I had enough skills or experience to move forward in my career, but she prodded me to apply anyway—and here I am. I’m thankful to her for believing in me.

What’s the best piece of advice you’d like to give?

Life is short, and we don’t know what the future will hold. This isn’t a practice—it’s the real thing, so give it your best shot.
 
Also, make memories along the way—don’t leave it all until the end. My parents had wanted to travel once they retired, but when my mom passed away at 54, it didn’t turn out the way they had planned (though thankfully they did get in a couple of years to travel). It made me realize we are not guaranteed those years, or health, or wealth—so make the most of each day.

Hazel’s journey—from program participant to employment counsellor—has given her the insight to understand her clients’ needs and support them in finding the right path. Clearly, even after 25 years, Hazel still loves her work!